Established auction houses, both in the United States and in Europe, say the factors driving online growth for auction sales this year are the same that propel upswings in the larger market: relative prosperity among collectors and a heightened urgency to find and win a rare, unique and high-quality object.
Collecting categories with the most notable growth in the first half of 2019 include Ephemera, Cards & Documents with 60% year-over-year lift, Watches (both women’s and men’s), Necklaces & Pendants (with more than 40% growth), Indian & South Asian Art with 34% growth, Sculpture, and Dolls at 28% growth year-over-year.
Regardless of categories, Shapiro said, the auction world is changing dramatically due to the digital revolution. “Someday soon, it’s going to be rare to have a live auction in some of these categories – like ephemera. Why would you go through that, with an auctioneer and all that goes into it, when it really sells well online?” he added.
But some universal truths remain, even as the market evolves online.